Martin to catch Grilli in simulated game

Martin to catch Grilli in simulated game

PITTSBURGH -- The game will be simulated on Wednesday, but the stakes will be real. Jason Grilli and catcher Russell Martin, both on the disabled list since April 26 with a strained left oblique and strained left hamstring, respectively, will team up at PNC Park to set the clock on their returns.

It will be the second sim game in as many days for Grilli, who threw 20 pitches on Tuesday. The batters he faced included Martin, who will move behind the plate for Wednesday's rerun.

"He's feeling very, very good," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Martin, whose intense conditioning has included everything but squatting, "and the catch component is most critical now. He even fired off a checked-swing [in Tuesday's sim game] and held his ground, didn't feel anything."

Martin had cited checking his swing while batting as the most painful element of an injury he had coped with since Spring Training, and what ultimately forced him on the DL.

Grilli's challenge now, Hurdle said, "is to get out there [Wednesday] and see how the fastball command shows up and how sharp the breaking ball is on the second of back-to-back days."

The club appears willing to go along with Grilli's insistence that he won't need any Minor League rehab work prior to being activated and resuming his closing duties.

Martin's agenda has not yet been determined. Hurdle planned to discuss that with bench coach Jeff Banister and general manager Neal Huntington at some point prior to Wednesday's sim game.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.